Optical phase contrast measurement of ultrasonic fields

Todd A. Pitts, Aaron Sagers, James F. Greenleaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This report describes an optical phase contrast imaging technique for the measurement of wide bandwidth ultrasound fields in water. In this method, a collimated optical wavefront (λ l = 810 nm) impinges on a wide bandwidth ultrasound pulse. The method requires that refractive index perturbations induced by the ultrasound field be sufficiently small. Specifically, on exit from the acoustic field, the phase of the optical wavefront must be proportional to the ray sum of local density taken in the direction of propagation of the incident optical wave. A similar restriction is placed on the dimensions of the ultrasound pulse. Repeated measurement of this phase as the ultrasound field is rotated through 180° about an axis normal to the direction of propagation of the incident optical wave generates the Radon transform of the ultrasonically induced refractive index perturbation. Standard tomographic reconstruction techniques are used to reconstruct the full three-dimensional refractive index perturbation. A simple two-lens imaging system and an optical signal processing element from phase contrast microscopy provide a method of directly measuring an affine function of the desired optical phase for small optical phase shifts. The piezo- and elasto-optic coefficients (the first partial derivatives of refractive index with respect to density and pressure) relate refractive index to density and pressure via a linear model. The optical measurement method described in this paper provides a direct, quantitative measurement of the piezo- and elasto-optic coefficients (from the density or pressure fields).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1686-1694
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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